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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 13, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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they turn on a stove to make coffee or plug in a toaster to make toast. they get in their car to drive to work, perhaps take a shower beforehand with hot water from a hot water heater. all of those things even before you get started reflect the prodigious use of energy in our country. now, almost two-thirds of our oil that we use in this country comes from other countries outside of our shores. and i've spoken often about this but we stick straws in this planet and suck oil out of the whole planet. we suck out about 85 million barrels of oil a day and one-fourth of it is destined to come to the united states because that's how much we need. and how much we use. the problem is, over -- about two-thirds of it comes from other countries. some of it from countries that don't like us very much. and so the question is how do we provide greater energy security for our country, more energy
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security so that we're less vulnerable and, second -- and as important, how do we change our fix of energy rand our use of energy to -- and our use of energy to protect our planet with respect to the issue of climate change? so let me talk about this just for a moment and say the following: number one, climate change, i think, is important. there's something happening to our climate, and we ought to address it. even the skeptics should at least be in support of a series of no-regret steps that if 50 years from now you decide well, that really wasn't happening, that you've at least done some things that you don't have greets in doing because they were the right -- that you don't have regrets in doing because they were the right thing to do. yes, something is happening to our climate and we ought to take some steps to address t i'm in favor of capping carbon. the emission of carbon and the use of carbon into the airshed, emitting into the airshed is a serious problem. we need to have a lower-carbon future. i am in favor capping carbon
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emissions. has to be dmon a smart way, in an appropriate way. but i'm in favor of that. i'm also in favor of putting a price on carbon. i mean, there are some people who i think believe that i and others who want to bring the energy bill to the floor of the senate, that came from the energy committee and the work we did last year, don't support clingclimate change. i support the effort to address climate change. i support a cap on carbon and i support the opportunity to decide that we're not only going to lower carbon emissions but 3u9 put a price on carbon, which is way to accomplish all that. what i don't support is what is call cap-and-trade as the mechanism to do that because i don't have any interest or willingness to consign a $1 trillion carbon securities market to wall street to speculate on. there are other ways to do this. leet me just say that the issue of restraining carbon and
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putting a price on carbon can be done in many different ways. some of my colleagues say, well, the only way to do it is what is called cap and trade. i don't agree with that at awvment i just don't support that. for the reasons i've just described. there are other ways. there is a carbon feerks just a visa straightforward carbon fee which is much less complicated. there is a cap-and-dividend approach which has some advantages as well. there's a sector-by-sector approach much there's a number of hybrid approaches that are being discussed. there is the command-and-control approach. so there are many different approps to this issue of -- approaches to this issue of restricting carbon an trying to price carbon. here is what is happening. we passeddage energy bill out of the energy committee last union -- beesed an energy bill out of the energy committee last june. it was bipartisan. republicans and democrats joined together. here is what it does. it will reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the airshed.
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it will maximize the production of energy from wind and solar, which are carbon-free, and it will build the transmission capability around the country,  superhighway of transmission so that you can gather energy from where the sun shines and the wind blows and put it on the wire to where the energy is needed. we have a renewable electricity standard called an r.e.s., requiring 15% of all electricity be done from renewables. i would offer an amendment to take that to 20%, if we can get the bill to the floor of the senate. that's just an example of what's in the bill. in fact, this is a chart. it will reduce our dependence on foreign energy, it will increase domestic production. it was my amendment that opens the eastern gulf of mexico for production. it's the only way that is not now open and has substantial reserves of both oil and natural gas. it establishes a renewable electricity standard.
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it creates a transmission superhighway. we electrify and diversify the vehicle fleet in our country. 70% of the oil that's used in this country is used in the vehicle fleevment so that's very important. -- is used in the vehicle fleet, so that's very important. the bill contains substantial provisions dealing with energy efficiency, new green energy technology. all of those things -- they're exactly what we would do if we had already passed a climate change bill to say, all right, how do you implement it? what are the provisions that you develop in order to implement this to have less carbon emitted? this is what you would do. and so, madam president, it's been -- it's been an impatient -- let me say it a different way. many of us have been impatient about trying to get this bill to the floor of the senate. here's what i understand. i understand those who say they want climate change legislation first have said, we don't want an energy bill to come to the floor of the senate.
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because we want there to be some agreement on climate change and until we get that, we are blocking or don't want the energy bill to come to the floor of the senate. my view is this: why don't you bring the energy bill to the floor of the senate, why don't all of us decide this is a priority, and when the bill comes to the floor of the senate, let's reach agreement on some kind of climate change amendment to this bill, and move ahead. i wouldn't support cap and trade but there are others that i will support that will put a price on carbon. but why would we end this congress not having achieved some very substantial achievements in a bipartisan energy bill that will actually reduce the emission of carbon in the atmosphere? that would make no sense to me. so, the question, it seems to me, as we go forward -- and i know that this is an issue that requires these matters to be fit into a broader set of issues --
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i ammigration reform is discussed these days, wall street reform or financial reform is going to come to the floor at some point. it will take some time. appropriations bills and many other things. but i still believe that its a he very important -- that it's very important that we diversify america's energy supply, we maximize the production of renewable energy, that we produce more here at home and, yes, that includes oil and natural gas. and, madam president, the use of coal is also very important and the use of coal using new technology to decarbonize the use of coal is important. we can do all of these things. our legislation includes provisions that will accomplish that. we neendz our legislation to come to the -- we need our legislation to come to the floor
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of the senate from the energy committee. i would say awful those who -- i support a carbon cap and i will support pricing carbon. that does not include support for cap and trade. if we haven't learned anything from the last decade or so about what wall street would do with ads 1 trillion carbon securities market, then we're pretty ill-prepared to legislate on these issues. so, madam president, there are not a lot of weeks left in this legislative session, and my fervent hope is, i would say to those who have been working on climate change and blocking our ability to bring an energy bill to the floor of the senate, i hope perhaps we could find a way to work together to bring the energy bill to the floor. that's the way the senate works. the senate works by running things through a committee, wo working hard to achiev aexrovmee did tha -- working thoord achiee
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compromise. it opens up different areas of drilling in the eastern gulf. builds an interstate highway of transmission capability. has the first r.e.s. renewable reelectricity standard. all are important. less us let us at least decide that this is a priority for the our country. yes, health care is a spriert. but so, too, is energy. let me make one final point. if tomorrow in the morning instead of flicking that switch and shutting off the alarm clock and taking a shower with the electric water hereto and putting a piece of toast in the toaster, a piece of bread in the toaster an taking something out of your refrigerator and using all of that energy before you get in your car to go to work, if tomorrow, god forbid somehow the terrorists interrupted the pipeline of foreign oil coming to this country -- and there are a lot of points where that could exist -- this country's economy
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would be flat on its back. we're, in my judgment, far too vulnerable with the percentage of our economy that runs on foreign oil. and there's a way to respond to that, and a way to address t and much of that is included in this legislation that has already passed the energy committee on a bipartisan vote. madam president, i yield the floor. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. kaufman: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: madam president, i rise to discuss a bill i'm introducing, he preelection -- the preelection transition act of 2010, it concerns our national security and america's democratic institutions. i'm proud to be joined by my colleague from ohio, senator voinovich, in introducing this bill. eups to -- i want to thank chairman akaka as well as chairman lieberman of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee. i appreciate their support and for input while drafting this
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bill. eulsd would like -- i also would like to thank the partnership for public s-frbgs a leading nonprofit organization in the area of government accountability and reform. their recent ready to govern report on the 2008-2009 transition made a number of important recommendations that are included in our bill. as a strong bipartisan support for this bill demonstrates, this is not a political issue. after the attacks of september 11, we face new security challenges that require close cooperation between outgoing and incoming administrations. and the recent economic crisis underscores the importance of a smooth handoff on domestic policy as well. this was highlighted in an article by martha kumar, a political scientist and director of the nonpartisan white house transition project. as professor kumar recounts in her december 2009 article, a threat to president obama's inauguration brought together
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the incoming and outgoing senior national security personnel in the white house situation room the morning of his swearing in. in the hours before the president-elect obama was to take office, intelligence sources indicated a possible plot to attack the national mall during the ceremony. thankfully this threat proved to be false. but as kumar explains, that situation room meeting between advisorses to president bush and president-elect obama was a powerful skpapl pell of why tran -- example of why transition planning is so important. in their meeting that morning, those on both sides worked well together as a team. this was because they met frequently in the weeks beforehand and had undergone joint emergency preparedness exercises together. this occurred in no small part because the administration of former president george w. bush made it a very high priority. the former president and his
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white house staff deserve great credit for their work during their final months in office. by appointing his chief of staff josh bolton as his transition point perm in convening a formal transition counsel, president bush create add successful model for 21st century transfer of power. presidential inaugurations have always been moments of celebration for americans, as we reaffirm the elective nature of our government but they also represent moments of potential vulnerability. in the earliest years of our history, that vulnerability inhabited the untested nature of our institutions. in an era when elected government was rare, the transition from one executive administration to another, particularly those between parties, brought fears of political or social unrest. the primary example of such a transition remains that from the administration of john adams to that of thomas jefferson, the
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first between opponents of different parties to contest the presidency. the peaceful nature of the 1801 transition came as a welcome surprise to some. the early american writer and novelist margaret smith whose brother held the senate seat from delaware i now occupy, attended that inauguration. in a letter to her daughter she described it thus -- quote -- "i have this morning witnessed one of the most interesting scenes a free people can witness: the changes of administration which in every government and every age have most generally been epics of confusion, sreul ni and blood -- villany and bloodshed in this our happy country take place without distractions or disorder." it is notable the greatest political crisis in our history occurred between election day in 1860 and president lincoln's
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inauguration the following march. the states ceded did so with national security. during the cold war when fears of a power focused on continuity of government, congress passed the transition act of 1963. it formalized several elements of a successful transition including public funds for a transition staff, use of office space and equipment from the general services administration, reimbursement for travel by the president-elect and the vice president-elect and the use of franked mail. it was amended in 1998 to permit the president-elect and vice president-elect to supplement public transition funding with private donations and lay out requirements for disclosing their sources. in 2004, congress took an important step by including provisions in the intelligence reform and terrorist prevention act that allowed transition personnel to request f.b.i. background checks for potential
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nominees -- appointees. this helps ensure that on january 20, when the new president is sworn in, the most critical national security positions are immediately filled. while some aspects of a successful presidential transition process have been formalized by these acts, much of what has become necessary for a safe and smoothe transition is still left to chance. madam president, fortune favors the prepared. we were lucky the first transition of the post september 11 era was carried out smoothly and with great preparation by both the outgoing and incoming administrations. as i said a few moments, and i repeat, we owe great thanks to former president bush for making this a priority committing staff and resources to the process. i also commend those who worked on both the obama transition team as well as those from senator mccain's campaign who engaged in some transition planning before election day. most importantly, our bill will
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go a long way in removing the stigma that has historically caused candidates to hide or even delay important transition planning until after election day. we all recognize that the first priority of any presidential campaign is to win the election. i certainly understand why in the past candidates have been weary of revealing that they have engaged in preelection transition planning at all. but we cannot afford to lose critical planning time because of our fears that a candidate may be accused by arrival of measuring the tapes prematurely. we must make sure incumbents make necessary preparations in case they lose bids for reelection. planning is an act of responsibility, not presumptiveness. with the security and domestic policy changes we face today, it must become the norm for any major party nominee to begin making arrangements for a transition long before election
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day. the bill my colleagues and i are introducing will formalize many of the recent transition successes and provide additional resources to help nominees begin transition efforts earlier. the preelection presidential transition act of 2010 encourages eligible presidential candidates to accept transition office space and a broad array of services from the general services administration immediately after the nominating conventions. presently candidates must wait until election day before these resources become available. we know that this is too late since both campaigns in 2008 and others in recent years have begun informal transition planning months in advance. under our bill, salaries for candidates transition staff, travel expenses and allowances are funded exclusively by separate funds raised by the campaigns prior to election. eligible candidates would be authorized to set up a separate account to support these activities. they would be able to transfer
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money from their campaign accounts into this transition account as well as raise funds separately. those candidates eligible to receive g.s.a.-provided services and access to facilities include major party candidates, third-party candidates would be eligible if they met the same criteria used by the commission on presidential debates to participate in general election debates. the g.s.a. would distribute to candidates a report on modern transitions including a bibliography of resources. this report would also be released to the public and posted to the internet to educate the press and public on the importance of early transition planning. of course under the bill services and information of candidates would be provided on an equal basis and without regard to political affiliation. they would have to be used only for transition purposes. because of transition depends on the attention to those to assume
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power and those leaving it, our bill authorizes appropriation for the outgoing administration to use ing in planning and coordinating transition activities across departments and agencies. it recommends adopting the bush phogdz of a transition -- model of a transition council staffed by outgoing appointees and career managers from each agency. this council would meet with representatives of the major nominees and update them on transition matters. the bill also encourages the outgoing administration to prepare comprehensive briefing materials for incoming officials on a range of issues in potential areas of concern. my colleagues and i approach this as pragmatists and our goal was not to tie the hands of the administration. it is to inspire responsible preparation. this bill is not about telling an outgoing president what to do. rather, it lays out a strongly suggested model for how to do the right thing. the only new requirement it sets for the outgoing president is
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the submission of two reports to congress in the months before election day describing activities being undertaken to prepare for the transfer of power. if the model works, it can serve as a blueprint for transitions to come. madam president, my first job in politics after joe biden was elected to the united states senate in 1972 was to help him set up a senate office in delaware. my last job before i was appointed his senate seat was as cochair of his vice president ill transition team. -- vice presidential transition team. setting up a senate's office is tough but it's nothing like setting up a white house office. i was in the room when then president-elect obama and vice president elect biden convened their meeting after the election. i cannot stress how important it was that those meetings had begun much, much earlier. there is not enough time between
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november and january to get everything done that needs to be done to transition into the white house in the united states of america. these are the reasons why i hope my colleagues will join us in supporting this legislation to make our presidential transitions smoother and safer. we cannot afford to leave something this important to chance. again, i want to thank my friend and colleague from ohio, senator voinovich, for his help in pulling this bill together as well as senators akaka and lieberman for their support and leadership. i look forward to working with them on the homeland security and governmental affairs committee to move this measure through the congress. i ask unanimous consent that the text of this bill be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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ietionz the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president, i rise today to discuss president obama's proposed fiscal year 2011 budget and propose a path forward for the national aeronautics and space administration, which we all know as nasa. even though colorado doesn't have a nasa facility, this proposed budget and the major changes to nasa's direction included in it have major implications for thousands of
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coloradans. mr. udall: madam president, i was the chairman on the house side of the space subcommittee and i know what space means to colorado. i know what it means to our nation. yesterday senator bennett and i had the opportunity to meet with nasa administrator, former general and now administrator charlie bolden to urge him to reevaluate the decision included in the president's budget request for nasa to terminate the constellation program. this program is developing the successor to the retiring space shuttle known as the orion capsule and the aries rocket. those two technologies will be teamed up in the planning that was brought together. now, we had a frank and productive discussion with administrator bolden. senator bennett and i discussed with him the importance of this program especially of the orion capsule to jobs in colorado and more importantly in space.
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general bolden assured us he wants to be flexible and work with congress on this nasa budget and that he's committed to human space flight. in other words, madam president, the president's budget request is the beginning of a long process and i was pleased to hear general bolden is set on working with elected members of this congress to chart a future course for nasa and america's leadership in space. and i look forward to working with general bolden as this unholds. i-- unfolds. if i might, madam president, i'd like to take a few moments to discuss the aerospace community in colorado. though we don't host a nasa facility, colorado has the second largest aerospace economy in the nation behind only california. we have a talented and educated work force and our colleges and universities have deep ties to nasa. private aerospace companies and federal research laboratories. we have many businesses that partner with nasa and the
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military to provide launch services and satellite development as well as a number of start-up companies that are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in privately financed access to space. we can also in colorado boast of the two key military space commands, norad and the air force space command, and three air force bases with strong space missions: buckley, peterson and shriever. in short, madam president, colorado's aerospace enterprise brings together the government and commercial sectors as well as the military and civil sectors. and for all these reasons, i pay close attention to nasa and to the administration's vision for the agency. and the significant changes in the president's fiscal 2011 budget request demands an especially hard look. and i know many of my senate colleagues feel the same way. i've been reviewing the president's budget since it was released in february, and as i
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noted earlier, senator bennett and i shared our concerns with general bolden yesterday. let me start by saying that there's much to like in the president's budget. first, it supports an extension of the international space station until 2020 and possibly beyond. completing the station has been a longtime coming and i'm pleased to see that this administration's commitment to fully utilizing it past the previous end date of 2015. second, the budget includes important new investments in science and aeronautics research. my goal is to balance eech of nasa's -- each of nasa's four mission priorities: science, earth science, space exploration and aeronautics. the president's request for nonexploration priorities represents a farsighted investment that should pay large dividends. also, the budget includes an additional $6 billion over five years, which is,
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madam president, especially notable at a time when many agencies are seeing flat or declining budgets. much of this investment will go towards developing transformative technologies and propulsion systems that will help nasa cross into new frontiers. however, the elephant in the room is understandably the proposed cancellation of the constellation program which is to be supplanted by commercial development of human space flight. now, a purely commercial approach to human space flight may be the future, but i'm concerned that it also runs the risk of diminishing american leadership in space. and, madam president, if that happens, that would be a great shame. it would be penny-wise but i fear it would be pound-foolish. and let me be frank, this move would hit colorado especially hard. well over 1,000 coloradans work directly on one aspect of constellation or another, and in
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addition, the jefferson county economic council estimates that work on constellation supports nearly 4,000 additional colorado jobs and $300 million worth of economic activity in the metro denver area. and as you can imagine, madam president, those kinds of numbers give me real pause and they're h especially worrisome n today's economic conditions. now, the budget proposal leaves broader questions unanswered as well. after the planned retirement of the space shuttle next year, the united states will be without the capacity to launch humans into space, including to the international space station. and at that point, we will be forced to purchase access to space on russian soyuz spacecraft. constellation was supposed to minimize the gap in our ability to access low earth orbit, otherwise known as l.e.o., and now the president is proposing
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to rely on the commercial sector to minimize the gap instead. i strongly support development of commercial launch capabilities in space services and i look forward to the day when the commercial sector can provide these services, freeing nasa to focus on development of new exploration technologies and human missions beyond low earth orbit. and i'm confident that that day will come. however, i have a not seen sufficient proof from the administration that that day is close at hand. the commercial sector has yet to prove it can safely put a human into orbit. and, madam president, should the commercial sector fail to deliver human access to space, america will be reliant on russian-procured launch services to the space station and to low-earth orbit for the foreseecial future. in my opinion, that is aen unacceptable position for our nation. the united states and russia
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have enjoyed a very productive partnership in space. it's been good for our country and good for space exploration. we should cooperate and share resourcesources whereever possi. but i'm -- wherever possible. but i am a he earn canned about what an indefinite reliance will mean for our flip space. canceling constellation has other important implications for our national security. nasa is a prime customer for the u.s. space launch industrial base which we rely on to sustain our strategic deterrence mission and to ensure access to space. these issues are especially important to me as i sit on the armed services committee. the department of defense officials have stated that constellation's cancellation could increase the current price of propulsion systems for our launch vehicles. the department of defense is looking at the cost impacts, but we will not have clear answers
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until this summer. congress needs this information before deciding whether to approve the president's budget request. now, madam president, i do not want to appear naive about the problems this administration faced in crafting a nasa budget and direction for the future. the constellation program is currently resourced and clearly unsustainable, in the words of the review of the human space flight plans committee more commonly known as the augustine committee. the committee went on to say that we're perpetrating the perilous practices of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources. that's simply into the recipe for u.s. leadership in space either. in the midst of crafting this budget for nasa, the administration also faced the worst economic conditions in a generation. and i can appreciate the difficulty of designing a sustainable plan for nasa within today's fiscal constraints.
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we cannot and should not ask nasa to do more with less. and transferring routine space operations to the commercial sector appears to be an attractive, potentially money-saving alternative. but i know i'm not alone in believing that congress should not support this budget based on what we know now. terminating constellation does not make sense. but we should be open to restructuring the program in a way that preservings american leadership in space and protects jobs. so, madam president, where do we go from here? the president will be speaking later this week in florida. it will be his first set of comments on the proposed nasa budget. i appreciate the fact that the president is tac ling the problems with his -- tackling the plobs with constellation head on. however, he needs to explain his plan better. and i hope the president will begin to answer the questions i and many of my completion in congress have asked.
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i hope he will begin to articulate a plan for nasa that is in the words of the august stein committee "worthy of a great nation." i do not believe we're there yet, but we will get there. madam president, one of the lessons i learned as a mountaineer came on the 10th day of what was supposed to be a seven-day climb of mt. mckinley. that the critical moment in our climb, i learned that when you are all the way in, you will find a way. and i believe that the american people are all the way in with nasa. i know this congress is. nasa's mission of exploration resonates with each of us. that mission transcends programs, and it transcends budgets, and it transcends politics. it's endured the end of mercury, gemini and apollo and it will soon endure the end of the space shuttle. unfortunately, the history of nasa is literated with canceled programs with little to show for
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them. i do not want to see the same happen with constellation, nor do i want to continue on an unsustainable course. the challenge before us is to ensure that nasa's programs and budgets are worthy of its mission. over the coming weeks and months, i will be working with my colleagues in congress and the administration to find the right way to further nasa's in addition. -- to further nasa's mission. i believe there is a sweet spot to be found that includes many of the positive aspects of the president's proposal but the american people deserve answers on the president's vision for our nation's leadership in human space travel. while some changes need to be made, i believe the constellation program has advanced an important mission. it would be highly disappointing to leave behind the significant investments we've made in constellation without anything to show for them. we will find a budget that works for nasa, for congress, and for
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colorado. madam president, we have to because we're in -- we're in all the way. madam president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminate tpha*euted. the presiding officer: without objeion. mr. reid: mr. president, there will be no more votes today. i ask unanimous consent that on april 14, tomorrow, following morning business the senate resume consideration of h.r. 4851, the time until noon be equally divided and controlled between leaders or their designees and during this time it be in order for the republican leader or his designee to make a relevant budget act point of order against the pepbgdz baucus -- pending baucus amendment, modified as specified below. after, senator baucus or his designee be recognized to move to waive the applicable point of order and thee the budget poinf order occur at 12:00 noon, there be no intervening motions or amendments during this debate, it be in order to modify the the baucus amendment with the provision which covers the extension of small business programs. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. voinovich: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. voinovich: i ask that it be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. voinovich: mr. president, i rise today to speak about one of the recess appointments president obama made when the senate was not in session. before i get into my concern about this, i would like to emphasize the fact that i have been the ranking member or the chairman of the over saoeufgt government management and district of columbia and several years ago the federal workforce.
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working with senator akaka, we have conscientiously tried to make the most significant improvements in federal service in terms of human capital and looking at title 5 of the code that deals with our federal workers. and that if you really look at the past and determine why we've had some real bad situations in the federal government, as we haven't had the right people with the right knowledge and skills at the right time at the right place. and so the whole effort has been to try and improve the management of our government to work with senator akaka to try to get federal agencies off the high-risk list. and high-risk lists are agencies that are subject to waste, fraud, and abuse and mismanagement. so i first share that with you because i think it may cast a little bit of a light about what i'm going to talk about this
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evening. the president nominated rayfield boraz to serve as department of homeland security under secretary for management on june 24, 2009. that's june of last year. i met with mr. borras to discuss his experience, qualification and goals for the department of homeland security and also served as the ranking member when the homeland security and governmental affairs committee held his nomination hearing on july 29, 2009. i carefully reviewed mr. borras's background resume and stated qualifications and heard what people he worked for and what people who worked for him said about him. based on all that i placed a hold on mr. borras' nomination becausible he is unqualified to be the d.h.s. under secretary for management -fplgt on march -- for management. on march 27 of this year the
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president ignored my concerns and my hold and made mr. borras one of his 15 recess appointments, and i want to know why. i want to know why. i don't generally oppose nominees and i don't put holds on lightly. and when i do, i explain why i put on holds. i don't hide out. i let people know why i put a hold on. i'm extremely concerned about the management challenges the department of homeland security faces which are wide-ranging and far-reaching. when congress established the department of homeland security in 2002, we initiated the federal government's largest restructuring since the department of defense was created in 1947. what's more, we told the department to protect us from terrorism and natural disasters while addressing the organizational operational, and cultural challenges associated with merging 22 agencies and
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175,000 employees into one entity. it's probably the biggest management challenge in the history of the world. the government accountability office cautioned about the challenges the merger would cause and place the department of homeland security on its high-risk list in january of 2003. today d.h.s. is the third-largest cabinet with about 230,000 employees, annual budget of $50 million, management challenges persist and the department remains on g.a.o.'s high-risk list. additionally, the d.h.s. inspector general, the d.h.s. chief financial officer and the homeland security advisory council cultural task force have also identified management challenges at d.h.s. they recognize they've got some big problems. d.h.s. is too big an entity spending too much money with too
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important a job to be deemed susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement year after kwraoerbgs and it's -- year, and it's imperative the right person be put in place to address those challenges. i don't believe that mr. borras is the person and i don't think he will move the department forward towards getting off the government accountability office's high-risk list. my concerns about mr. borras' qualifications and my holds on the nomination were not secret. i wrote the majority leader. i wrote secretary napolitano and i also wrote to the president to outline my concerns. i announced in a homeland security and governmental affairs hearing on d.h.s. management challenges that i was holding the nomination because of those concerns. but no one approached me to discuss those concerns. the senate did not debate mr. borras' qualification. no cloture motion was filed.
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rather, my concerns were ignored and this recess appointment was made. i would like for someone in the administration to explain why things were done this way. i assume it was done because everyone knows that mr. borras is not the best person to manage our third largest department and any debate we had would have made his lack of qualifications plainly apparent, so we didn't debate it. if the senate had taken the time to debate this nomination, i would have skpwhraeupbd that in -- explained in 2007 congress set statutory requirements for the d.h.s. under secretary for management. by the way, we helped create that special under secretary for management because we believed that the department needed someone that would get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night and move on the transformations needed in the department to get it off the high-risk list. we required the under secretary to have extensive
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executive-level leadership and management experience, a demonstrated ability to manage large and complex organization and a proven record in achieving positive operational results. mr. borras did not meet those statutory requirements because he does not have the appropriate executive-level leadership, experience or demonstrated ability to manage an organization as large and complex as d.h.s. the administration and mr. borras point to his experience as one of several vice vice presidents in one region of a fortune 500 company. as a regional administrator for one region of the general services administration and as deputy assistant scare at the department of commerce -- assistant secretary at the department of commerce. i don't believe these experiences are in any way comparable to the challenges mr. borras will face at d.h.s. he has never overseen a budget
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anywhere near as large as the d.h.s. budget. his own assertions indicate that the largest budget he ever was involved with was $4.5 billion at the department of commerce. that's roughly one-tenth the size of the d.h.s. $50 billion budget, and mr. borras was never directly responsible for the commerce department budget. he was just one of those that worked at the department. additionally, mr. borras has never managed hundreds of thousands of employees like the 230,000 he'll be responsible for at d.h.s. at most he asserts he was directly responsible for managing 1,500 employees while a g.s.a. regional administrator. he has of -- never kwro*e seen a procurement -- never overseen a procurement budget where in 2005 $10 billion was spent on 63 contracts. he asserts the largest procurement budget he's been
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involved with was one quarter of that, $2.5 billion while at the general services administration. given the vast difference between mr. borras' experience and the requirements of the job, i agree with two of his former supervisors who told me that this job is a big leap from what he's done in the public and private sector. in other words, they said this is a big leap from what he's done. further, when you compare mr. borras' qualifications with the qualifications of past nominees for this position, there's even more concern. for example, paul schneider had over 38 years of federal service when he was nominated to the d.h.s. under secretary for management. and much of that experience was with the navy, a large, complicated organization like d.h.s. similarly, elaine duke had more than 25 years of progressively difficult federal government experience primarily within the
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department of defense when she was nominated to be d.h.s. under secretary for management. i don't mean to imply that only career civil servants are appropriate for this role, but mr. borras' resume does not include high-level managerial positions at organizations that are similarly complex to d.h.s., and i think the department of homeland security under secretary for management needs a proven record in that regard. i want to emphasize again, we set this up specifically to be responsible for transformation and to deal with the management problems of the department. so we laid it out and said this is the kind of person that we ought to be putting into this position. additionally and unfortunately, mr. borras demonstrated a lack of attention to detail on two separate occasions in his own personal life, which makes me wonder whether he's prepared to successfully undertake all the responsibilities required of the d.h.s. under secretary for
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management, such as addressing d.h.s.'s low rank on the best places to work in the federal government study and overseeing the billions of dollars that d.h.s. spends on hard to manage projects. i feel so strongly about mr. borras's lack of qualification that i no longer am seeking to work to enact a five-year term for the position that -- for the person that holds this position. the thought was when we put this position together, we would give it a five-year term because we knew that if you're going to do transformation, it's going to take more than one year. we give that individual five years to go forward and just work on nothing but transformation, transformation, transformation, so this department would come together and we get it off the high-risk list. the government accountability office suggests such a term would help improve the management function at d.h.s.
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and i've been advocating for such legislation for the last couple of years. my bill has bipartisan support and has passed the senate before, but now i don't want it enacted because i'm afraid of having mr. borras in this position for five years. i don't think he has the skills necessary to get the job done. so that's gone. and i know i'm not alone in my concerns. mr. borras was passed out of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee largely on a party-line vote, but it should be noted that two democrat members of the committee expressed concern about his qualification when we were debating his nomination. in fact, one of the democrats who voted for the nomination said she was doing so to send the nomination to the floor but that she wanted the committee to take a closer look at mr. borras' qualifications to make sure he had the management skills necessary to manage the department of homeland security. i wonder, did such a review ever
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occur? if it did, it did not include me even though i'm the ranking member on the committee's oversight of government management subcommittee. you know something? i should have asked senator akaka if he had ever been consulted, but a dime will get you a dollar. they didn't talk to him at all. i wasn't a strong supporter in creating the department of homeland security. standing it up created real challenges, and those challenges remain, but the department exists and we owe it to the united states and our children and grandchildren to ensure the department is as good as it can be. i think we need to ask our president why did he make this research appointment when doubts existed on both sides of the aisle about mr. borras' qualifications? what was the stated reason for the appointment? will somebody explain why the appointment was made? i sat with the secretary and we talked about it. never in all of my conversations did anyone come forward and say
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he should get the job, he is qualified for the job. the fact that no one in the administration defended mr. boras' really or really explained why they thought he was qualified to be in d.h.s. undersecretary for management still remains a puzzlement to me. i think somebody owes it to me, to senator akaka, to the members of this senate to explain why they put this man in this position under a recessed appointment, particularly when we have an agency that if we don't have the kind of attention given to it will never be in a position where it can get off the high-risk list. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor.
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mr. voinovich: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: and i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. brown: i notice the senior senator from ohio, my colleague, is in the chamber. i want to thank him publicly for his vote yesterday, joining with senator voinovich, joining with three other republicans, senator collins, senator snowe and senator brown, the new senator from massachusetts, for his vote to extend unemployment benefits. there is simply no reason this shouldn't be bipartisan, this extension of unemployment benefits. it's not solving all our nation's problems. it certainly stimulates the economy. it's the best -- really the best use of public dollars to help the economy because when you extend unemployment benefits, you pay unemployment benefits to a family in ashtabula or a family in yellow springs, you end up with putting money into the community that they spent at the local grocery store, the local hardware store, the local
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department store. they are able to pay their property tax money that goes to schools, all of those things. so it's clearly a stimulative effect on the local economy, but even more than that, it's what we owe to people who are working hard, playing by the rules, and can't find a job. we don't call -- we don't call unemployment unemployment welfare. we call it unemployment insurance. i think all of us know on both sides of the aisle, even though 30 of my colleagues refuse to -- or work against passing this legislation to extend benefits, unemployment benefits to people that are -- that are now unemployed that were employed, i think they understand -- and maybe we need to have a little more instruction around here, but i think they understand that people when they are employed pay into the system as insurance, and when they are unemployed, they get assistance from the government to keep bread on the table, to keep their families fed. and it's a pretty simple concept
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that it's worked for us for decades, and i -- i -- i hear the reasons that my colleagues, republicans who have voted against the extension of unemployment benefits, the reason they give is it's not -- it's not paid for, that it's going to blow a hole in the budget. i -- i think back and i know the presiding officer when he represented bolder and represented his congressional -- represented boulder and represented his congressional district before he moved to the senate, when he was down the hall from me, he remembers as i do as we oppose the war in iraq, that the republicans who supported it, all but i believe three in the house and one in the senate, didn't think then about paying for that war. they didn't think about what this meant to the cost -- the cost to their children and grandchildren. when they passed -- when we were both in the house, the presiding officer, senator udall and i from colorado, they didn't think about when we passed the medicare giveaway to the drug and insurance companies which senator udall and i -- then congressman udall and i opposed,
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they didn't say anything about paying for it in those days. they just added it to the credit card for our children and our grandchildren, and when they gave tax cuts to the richest americans, billions and -- excuse me, hundreds of billions of dollars over ten years to the wealthiest americans, that was just added to the credit card and the future. it's only now when it's unemployed workers, people whose lifestyle, people whose quality of life isn't close to the quality of life and the lifestyle and the standard of living that we enjoy, dress like this, working in a place -- in this august body with the privilege that surrounds it, it's only when we talk about people who have lost their jobs who, you know, don't have the privileges we do now, generally through no doing of their own. it's simply they lost their jobs, their company closed, they got laid off. most of them weren't -- most of them were efficient workers that did what their employer asked. and yet, we're going to be so stingy as to -- to deny them
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unemployment compensation? you know, and it's not like they're sitting around with nothing to do and should be out working. i've talked to dozens of people, as i'm sure senator udall has, the presiding officer has, talked to dozens of people who say -- tell me they've tent out 10, 15, 20, 25, sometimes 50 resumes every week or so to try to get a job and usually these resumes go unanswered and possibly barely even looked at because these companies aren't hiring. so this is -- it's a question of fairness. it's a question of good economics. it's a question of in some sense the privilege that we enjoy here that they're denying even a shred of that same advantage by refusing to extend their unemployment benefits and refusing to extend the assistance they can get for health care with so-called cobra program which allows them to keep the health insurance she had.
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it -- high cost but not so prohibitively high cost because we've been helping with that since the stimulus package and legislation. i had written back before the stimulus bill but included in it that gave assistance pooh people who had lost their insurance when they signed up for cobra so they can keep what they had. so, mr. president, i don't know to make about their opposition. they say it's because the budget deficit but i really wonder if it is, because they didn't say it before when it was the tax cuts for the rich, the insurance company giveaways, billions of dollars in the iraq war. they never think about paying for those things but they want to do it on the backs of unemployed workers. i don't get that. but let me make it more personal for a minute, mr. president. i won't take long. i have two letters today. one, i talked to a later from paynesville county, east of cleveland, right along east erie. she wrote and i called her today and talked to her. her name is bash rasm she said, "my son-in-law just got his last
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unemployment check. he has two kids, a thousand dollar house payment, utilities, car payment, car insurance, gas is $3 a gal long, food bills, school clothes, school supplies, car maintenance and, oh, yes, the kids like to eat. then they turn off the utilities when we don't pay them. please vote to extend unemployment until jobs are available that pay more than minimum wage." she goes on to write, "we need good-paying jobs or unemployment now. my daughter has bills she wants to pay. she wants her husband to be able to work for money." she said, "my kids don't want welfare." and, again, i think that perhaps the republicans that voted en masse, with the exception, again, of four courageous republicans, including my seatmate, senator voinovich, the senior senator from my state, and including the two maine senators and the new massachusetts senator, perhaps they don't understand the difference between welfare and unemployment insurance. and i wish they'd pay more attention so that they did. because this is, again, unemployment insurance. these people aren't taking welfare. these are people that earned it.
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second letter and last letter i'll read, mr. president, janet from toledo in northwest ohio writes, "i've been working since i was 14. i'm going on 65." so janet's worked 50 years or so. "i had to take early retirement. i'm at risk of losing my home in toledo. thank the lord i kept my car but i can't afford much else, like health insurance. people like me are struggling, giving unemployment isn't costing --" she says, "giving unemployment is giving money to people who have already earned it and paying into the system." she's not asking for herself but she's asking for the many people she sees in oregon, ohio, and wasion and brian and toledo and sill vain ya and all over northwest ohio, people who are, again, as most americans, play by the rules, work hard and -- and simply ask for a fair shake. and they -- they want this unemployment insurance available, payments available to them. it's not a lot of money. it's not anything most of us would want to live on. on any kind of decent standard
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of living. it's -- it's enough to get the them -- to pay their bills through the week, through the month so their house won't be foreclosed or or so they can feed their children or whatever the -- the basic needs of life that are so important to them. so, mr. president, i -- i again thank the four republicans and join the democrats in -- in extending -- in this legislati legislation. i hope we can move forward this week, pass this legislation and get it to the president so we can get on with the job of figuring out how to put more people to work in this country. i spoke today, i did a conference call with several ohio highway contractors to talk about, you know, what areas meant to them, what we can do to get money so they can build more highways and bridges and sewer systems, so they can help companies who want to expand, do what they need to modernize their plants and expand their plants so we can begin hiring people. and that's our mission. it's to extend unemployment benefits then figure out, working with the private sector, how we help them create jobs and get this economy back on track.
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mr. president, i yield the flo floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the order with respect to h.r. 4851 and the baucus a.m baucus amendmentd the vote on the motion to waive the budget act occur at 12:30 p.m. and the remaining provisions of the previous order are still in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 269, s. 1749. the presiding officer:he clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 269, s. 1749, a bill to amend title
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18, united states code, to prohibit the possession or use of cell phones and similar wireless devices by federal prisoners. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the committee-reported amendments be agreed to, that a feinstein amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 344, s. res. 409. the presiding offir:he crk will report. the clerk: calendar number 344, s. res. 409, calling on members of the parliament in uganda to reject the proposed antihomosexuality bill and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceetohe measure. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to
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reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the resolution be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, april 14. that following the prayer and the pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and the silence then observed -- and then the senate observe a moment of silence in solidarity with the people of poland. that following the moment of silence, the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators be permitted to speak on the topic of poland, that following those statements there, be a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the majority controlling the final 30 minutes. that following morning business, the senate renewable portfolio consideration of h.r. 4851, the continuing extension act, as provided for under the previous order.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: mr. president, a point of -- before finalizing the end of the day, i would add that -- in support of this resolution that we will discuss tomorrow, in 1991, i spent working for ohio state university some time in poland working with their government to transition from communism to democracy. and my friend tomash, who is a polish -- then an academician, later rose to be the minister of culture in poland and he was on that plane. and i miss him. i had not seen him in years but i miss him and what the contribution he made to poland and to our country and the work we did together on cultural issues. and certainly support this moment of silence and ask that we all remember the terrible thing that happened to the -- to so many of the leaders in poland and what that means for how we have to come together and assist that country as it moves forward
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in another crisis that -- that the great 38 million people of poland face day after day. mr. president, when the senate convenes tomorrow, it will observe a moment of silence to express the senate's solidarity to the people of poland. following morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the continuing extensions act under a previous order, if a point of order is raised against the pending baucus amendment, then at 12:30 p.m., the senate will proceed to a roll call vote on the motion to waive the applicable point of order f. there's no further business, mr. president, to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
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you can search it, watch it, collected and share it over 160,000 hours of video from last week or last year. every c-span program since 1987. the c-span video library, cables latest gift to america. all this month see the wonders of the c-span video document become petition to the middle and high school students submitted videos on one of the country's greatest strengths or
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challenge the country is facing. watch the top winning videos every morning on c-span at 6:50 eastern just before washington journal and at 8:30 during the program meet the students who made them and for a preview of all the winners, visit studentcam.org. next, republican national committee chairman michael steele. he spoke of the southern republican leadership conference in new orleans last week. his remarks were 25 minutes. [applause] specs before. how is everybody giving? [cheering] any workers in the house? we need workers. god bless you, so great to be here. congratulations to the host the senate republican leadership conference. thank you so much for the great effort. this has been a beautiful conference and wonderful opportunity for republicans and conservatives and like-minded souls to come together and get rid of the fight that lies ahead. are you ready?
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arthu ready? all right, let's get busy. now before i bring it all i must share with you one little fault and this is a lesson i want everyone to take as you leave from here today. in her life few realize quickly you can't please everyone their cue can certainly make the manager at the same time and that is a lesson well learned. it is an opportunity as well because folks have been mad at us in the past and we have learned from the past and we are now ready to move on to a brighter future as leaders, as republicans, as conservatives. and on the front line of this new surge to take back the
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country. [applause] now you can't go wrong in each election year to start with a quote from the founders. it was thomas jefferson who said the issue today is the same as it has been all throughout history, where a man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite. i guess some things haven't changed. republicans get accused by the other side of having a message based on fear. well they are right but the founding fathers were fearful first. they were afraid of unchecked power in government and so are we. they drafted the constitution for the purpose of obtaining that beast, and today we see why as we watch the beast sink its teeth deeper into the pocketbooks of every american
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citizen. the sad fact is we live in a time when the constitution has lost its sway over those who would govern us. there is a small elite, as jefferson called them, in washington which viewed the two years between the elections not as a time to earn the public trust but rather their opportunity for unchallenged social experimentation. as i meet with you, the grassroots of america i've never seen the kind of anger that is brewing right now. [applause] now, smart people who study this kind of thing tellus anchor is usually a mask for fear. now why on earth would the citizens of the greatest nation on earth have any reason to be fearful? because we love our country.
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we love the principles of liberty and the opportunity. we'd love the american dream. we want it for ourselves and our children. this is the promised land. this is the place people have always come to buy land, by sea, buy hook or crook. when they are secretly planning their escapes, this is -- this laden is the preferred destination. [applause] now, why is that? is it because the soil grows better corn? is it something in the water? are we just nicer here? if you spend time in rush hour traffic, and you know that's not necessarily the case.
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[laughter] america is supposed to be the place to come to so the ten locals of big government no longer reach you. this is the place where as long as you don't hurt someone else, you can pretty much do you want. you are free to work hard to stay smart and pass on a lasting legacy of wealth to your kids. and america, success is not our enemy because we all expect to succeed. prosperity isn't something we punish because this is the one place where prosperity is a possibility of releasing all day for anyone who wants to. in american nobody wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and says all i want to be today is poor. that does not happen in america.
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no matter where you come from, no matter who your parents are or where they came from the folks of all stripes and all schools have made it here. that is the point of america. our enemies have never been the wealthy or the strong. our only enemies are those who would threaten our lives and liberties. of the whole point of the constitution was to keep the government from becoming an enemy of the people. that's why the constitution shredding president and accomplices scare the pants off the american people. [applause] now at a time americans are losing a job with no end of sight, when great american companies are underseas, congress should be focused on nothing else except restoring economic growth and stability for our job-creating sector.
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instead, every single piece of legislation, democrats and washington have past have been a job killer from cap and a trade to the fraudulent so-called stimulus, and now with the government takeover of health care democrats are committing the worst kind of economic malpractice. and americans, that would be you. fed up and ready to throw the bums out in november. [applause] now let me ask you a question. are you inspired by american? >> yes! are you inspired by american? >> yes! >> are you moved by her story? >> yes! >> well, you should be because that inspiration comes from you and her story is yours.
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but they don't understand it that way in washington. we all want to be inspired and we want to be inspired in the right way for the right reasons. barack obama inspired america last year but he did it the wrong way. he talked about hope without an action plan. change without telling us what he wanted to change. well now we know. in the americas is no way, no help. [applause] america says noeth to government-run health care, no to government owned car companies, notes to government controlled banks and no to bigger and bigger government to get no, no, no. [applause]
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and let me just offer this little warning to our friends in washington. when america says no, you better listen. just ask bart stupak. [applause] when we say there is a new day of accountability, we mean that. now mr. stupak is trying to run around and claim he is not the first casualty of the americans out here saying no to bigger government. well, mr. stupak, sorry, bro, you are. [applause] and there are many more to follow. many more to follow. [applause] so, bye, bye, stupak.
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[laughter] [applause] you need to understand something, folks. we are not in a nanny state induced coma and you like your band canada. when democrats in congress pass a giant package and called it a stimulus bill we didn't line, we organized. when nancy pelosi and her millions passed the job killing economy crashing cap-and-trade to manage energy consumption we didn't shrug our shoulders, we raised up principles conservative candidates to run to defeat them. [applause] when democrats sal told us with controlling shares of car companies that union bosses had driven into financial ruin we didn't come clean. we drove ourselves treaty party. the [cheering] when the democrats started counting down to the end of the
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bush tax cuts with glee, we didn't give up. we started counting down to this nov with cui to become speed. when democrats told us we had to get rid of the normal high spending binges and chilean dollar deficits, we didn't put ourselves in the fetal position, we put an expiration date on their majority in congress. november 2nd, 2010. [cheering] now, and saved by america's alarm at the course the chosen, they started this health care for takeover nonsense. they felt they wouldn't do it in the end. that is when you get for putting your trusten democrats. [laughter] we felt the rallies in the capitol switchboard meltdowns
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and protests and outcry would remind the democrats who they work for. but instead they passed the mos radical power grab in the history. a time when our leaders should have been focused on creating jobs and kick starting the engine of growth the past a job killing recovery joking government takeover of one sixth of all our economy. on every level, folks, every level, democrats in power have proven to be the greatest hazard to our national health. [applause] now, the president just declared april national financial literacy month. [laughter] and you didn't know that, did you? [laughter] and i bet you didn't know how deliberate you were but they seem to think you are.
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now they have called on americans, there would be you and our neighbors, now don't laugh at this because this is the serious part, to educate themselves about basic concepts, how to balance a checkbook, save for a child's education, steer clear of deceptive financial products and practices, plan for retirement and i like this one, avoid accumulating excessive debt. [laughter] i told you all not to laugh at that. they are serious. now let me get this straight, the president who broke a world record by raising the debt ceiling a few months ago by $1.9 trillion tells us he wants to educate us on how not to create excessive debt.
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now all i want to know is what part of the $14.3 trillion debt he's created does he not think is excessive. we clearly have a lot more to [applause] we've got to write this stuff down because you can solve it, you've got to write it down. this is the serious part. the american people are asking how do we get our country back? how do we stop this craziness. [laughter] i love the people. i tell you how we get our country back, five-year nancy pelosi.
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[applause] [cheering] fire her. [applause] i will tell you how to repeal it and replace the government-run health care system they just tried to put on us, replace harry reid. [applause] it will take your help, your leadership, it will take your activism in order for us to take back our country. today get back from the brink of financial and social chaos. a ticket back from the brink of economic frigidity. we can write her course, ladies and gentlemen and prevent the cradle of future generations from being rocked by the hand of
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an opportunistic and paternalistic government. washington it's to be replaced by the people's aspirations. but that will only happen when you replace the people in washington. [applause] the electoral march is already on from massachusetts to new jersey to virginia, the freedom agenda is winning today with a winning message, shrink government, lower taxes, give people back their freedom, their choices for their families and their future and power the job creators instead of the political class. let's tap into that competitive spirit and quite frankly the competence that's only found in the entrepreneurial sector, not
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in government. that's what makes america great, more choice, less control from washington, more jobs, fewer bureaucrats, more entrepreneurs, fewer career politicians, but we can't coast and to a new majority. nor can we assume it is a sure thing. possible alternative narrative's to tell. any other headline will do. here is one headline americans know to be the truth. democrats trust government more than they trust the american people. that is a headline that is straining all across this land. it is a headline that families are confronting at their kitchen tables every night. that is the headline small business owners are opening their doors to every day.
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that is the headline you and i will change by empower america to take their government back. [applause] to take their government back. [applause] they're looking for distractions and lord knows, i've provided a few. and have san the difficulty sometimes have balance in these challenges and the love nothing more for us to keep pointing the fingers at me and others instead of tyrannical and the american agenda and we should not fall for that track. i am the first year to an and have made mistakes and is
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incumbent on me to take responsibility, shoulder the burden, make the necessary changes and ron. we've all had to do that and time to time. [applause] eleven but the one mistake, the one mistake we can not mistake this number is too loose. [applause] the one mistake we cannot afford to make is to lose. i also know that some in our movement are questioning whether our nation has what it takes to recover from the burdens of this congress and administration, whether to launch damage has been sent to the american character. they worry that the enemies of liberty and of american exceptionalism and some are
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wondering if we will come out on the other side with our freedoms intact. but the american. is unbroken. let me tell you something. i know that the american soul has been through some dark nights in the past, you can always tell that the city on the hill is still shining brightly by the ferocity of the price that the richest to savor. sometimes it's only by the allies of the rockets personal and june that you can see the banner still white. still fly in every time we've had to face and eyes of testing and apparel the dawn breaks through the haze of the battlefield and the sun rises on liberty, once again. this is the morning america. i assure you, that through the line of this coming gone our supply the, our freedoms, they
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are still there. [applause] that's why we fight. that's why we fight, that's why we are right. [applause] that is why we fight. that is why we fight every single bank. [applause] we don't want america to be confused right now, we want to speak with clarity, we want to speak with understanding, we want to speak with hope, we don't want america to be confused. so let's two now all the background noise and go offense, let's take it to them. let's take it to the streets. [applause] let's stick to the neighborhoods, let's stick to the work places, let's take it to communities and have never been in before, let's take into the back alleys and friend alice, the corner drugstores and
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the board rooms and share a message of empowerment and opportunity. let's tell america we are live because we are free and we are free because we believe in principles grounded in the constitution that protect ask every single bank. we are free because we find that freedom. applause mcwilliams [applause] is going to take a lot of work. a lot of support, a lot of time and money and legwork and of calls from a yard signs and facebook, twister, you of the week, down to? if you don't, learn how. serious. call me, i will help you. because we have got to talk to america. we have to spend time with america. we've got to help the fog be removed from their eyes. it began to drain the lake from their veins.
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[applause] we can to help them understand that freedom is all about and that they already have it in their hands that they build their businesses, educate their kids create america for tomorrow. [applause] if you leave this conference with nothing else take this with you. it's never too late in america, it's never too late in america. president obama talked about, yes, we can. we are going to go talk to america about what we will do. [applause] there's a big difference. what we will do rely on the
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ingenuity and commitment of the people of this country. not the programs and the bureaucracies of government. what we will do is engage in america and the year. speak to her head with troops in, speak to her with the vision and, speak to her reaction. ronald reagan and noted famously when asked about his strategy for the cold war we win, they lose. [applause] with your help, with your support to we can restore the strength, the growth, the birthright of liberty and prosperity that generations of americans have always passed on to their children. that's the legacy we leave. that's the legacy has passed on
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to ask. that's the legacy we once now right to pass on to our kids. and our grandkids. it's worth all, right, folks. we will be the generation to keep that promise. one and come november we win, they lose. [applause] thank you. [applause] ♪ west virginia senator jay
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rockefeller earlier today talked about the miners who died at the upper big branch mine in west virginia. he spoke for 20 minutes on the floor of the senate's. >> mr. president, we as the presiding officer when well
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understand, from his own experience, west virginia and it is morning the loss of 29 brave miners who died last week. most of whom never knew what hit them. when a devastating explosion tore through the upper bay branch mine in west virginia and brought the whole state to a dead halt. even though it may never be possible to fully grasp the magnitude of this tragedy and it is, in fact,, it is huge, or two ease the pain of this devastating loss, we in -- virginia believe strongly in the power of prayer and in the grace of god. and that has been really important. this week in the weeks to come.
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we hold onto it that the land we are to one another and to the of families, friends and fellow miners who are grieving. weaver here are minors,. the men and women who put their lives of every single day to provide for their families and bring light and heat to millions. one they lived in obscurity, they work underground, nobody knows much about its progress of the country twice, but it's rock bond -- but it is heroic living in the make this country work. honda we offer a heart filled thanks to the rescue workers who risked their own lives, our rescue
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teams like the entire west virginia community never gave up hope and continue to forge ahead in their mission. they and their stand that when they volunteered for this dangerous work they knew that at some where they would be called on to put their own lives on the line. that's when a rescue worker is all about. pushing the edges, how much methane, how far can you get in, how much dust, what can you see practice does he have enough oxygen or sheep. and they did so selflessly and fearlessly and they have as you can imagine my deepest respect. one mr. president, and even more in our darkest hours america has seen the very best of west
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virginia. i mean to gathered through a growing souls reach other with tears in mutual ludwig this is to be r will. this is appellation. it is the sense of oneness, always against sunday aunt's. odds are always stacked against us. wamp maybe that's why i'm so proud to represent them. always fighting uphill. others not knowing much about two-way, necessarily paying a lot of attention to you. but strong good people. so is the sense of what is really that sets us apart in my mind. and i am so proud to be a west virginian. in your all too familiar with
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this agony. and now the presiding officer is. we have been here before with sago iowa, and win a our worst fears are realized as they were in this terrible tragedy one must find a way to the searing pain and the loss because of that's the way it is. in our appalachia. central apple lachey. everybody understands that mine and has always been risky. but you know, it can be made safer. by people there who want to make it safer. that will often start with a person who is in charge of the company. safety is about a company doing the right things, mr. president. safety is also about a sting of
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federal government stepping in and toughen it up our laws or that needs to be done. and is about providing the resources and the people and to enforce those laws. let me give you an example. currently the zero federal mine safety and health review commission has 14 the administrative law judges. if the budget request is and how did they will have 18, they will go for 14 to 18. now, those 18 and right now those 14 administrative law judges together to face a backlog of more than 16,000 cases. continued 82,000 violations want. it is incomprehensible to, it is
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ridiculous but industry and an unacceptable. in the aftermath of as a geographer virus prior to the minor act along with senator. , senator kennedy and senator right in seeing provide on in. this was, in fact, the only significant better of my legislation and a literal level which since 1977 and which meant that we had gone 30 years without passing significant find safety legislation. that doesn't tell it whole story, but it's really tells of part of the story. the bill was not perfect but it did tackle the core problems that we faced at sago was a different mind, much smaller mine. then this huge mind in raleigh
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county, west virginia periwig because of this bill, now won't we require that mines will have a flavor assistant lifelines to guide miners out in emergencies. if you have an explosion and dust everywhere, can see one -- can't see anything as you put in a sort of handrail and you hold on and follow that because you can see where you are guiding. that will lead you to the shaft or perhaps an elevator and it's still working ninth could get you out. we require abrupt -- refuge chambers that are now located in mines to protect minors. they can evacuate. those are safe havens that have oxygen and food.
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there are stories breathing devices on the escape routes one, part of ilan out of. and it is not implemented by all but it is part of the law. and we have new flammability requirements for new belt's agreement. and and how that's mine and jargon, but i lay it before the senate. and yet despite these important improvements, and once we mourn how another disaster at a very unkind and more lives were lost and we ask again? will -- everything we now at this time nawaz -- tells us this accident did not have to happen. one this explosion could have and should have been prevented.
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we if you are asked by a coal miner does an explosion have to happen, and the answer is now. is a preventable? yes,. as easy to say and hard to do. but in the real world of serious work in mine safety it is preventable. miners don't have to lose their jobs in their lives. so our responsibility is to end of this new and terrible incident. we have to look at it carefully, we can't rush to judgment, and explant a couple of pins that are being done and we don't know exactly what went wrong at the upper big branch, that was the mind. but i promise you we will demand answers and we will get answers.
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the mine health and safety group will conduct a complete investigation into this tragedy and that will tell us a lot. the agency's quick response frankly and leadership after this explosion has been in my judgment highly commendable. right now what we do now is that we need to enforce aggressively the provisions of a minor act that we passed several years ago in 2007. and all -- and where they are needed we must put new laws in place, i understood that mine operations are different, some operators trying to do the right thing and and others try less hard. unwed -- it is a hard job, mr.
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president. i'm concerned that the enforcement process to the move is much too slowly. and that hurts the good operators as well anise help and the bad ones. want even when the circumstances demand the most urgent response one. it can stop operations, whenever they see emily dangerous violations. that's in the i have to be holder appear anwr of the inspector. which means they have to be good people and well trained. once the operator has addressed that problem, then there is no longer violation. and -- can continue. but these inspectors also look for a very interesting phenomenon called patterns of
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violation. and for that you have to look back over the last several years. in a particular mind or a particular part of a mine. to find that has there been a pattern of violation which in an ad itself on might not rise to the level of in danger but could indicate that the mine needs to improve its safety. and is either deliberately not doing its and if they find a pattern they should be able to impose higher fines and it's not corrected they should be able to as they are now shot a mine down or just part of a mine. murray there's a particular problem. this mine in where the explosion
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was was just huge, it had numerous double digit entrances into different parts of at the mine and it was huge. it doesn't always work that way because companies have found a loophole in this part of the part dealing with so-called patterns of violations. they just keep contestants and appealing, they peel and they appeal right on aptitude and lateral courts. the appeal of the decisions to prevent the finding of a pattern, and that's why they do it. wong if you don't want something to happen in the on to pay in
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kind, if you been cited for violations online but to appeal it on and keep appealing and then a judgment against you you go to the next court higher up, long want -- you don't have to either pay the fine or change the way you operate. the number of appeals have increased dramatically from just 6% of total violations in 2005 and 1227% last year. and with such a tremendous backlog of cases and limited manpower, the average appeal and took 587 days to finalize last year. which is bad for everybody. some operators are taking advantage of this loophole, preventing government action and that imposing a serious risk to
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the minor safety pin in unwed west virginians can rest assured that i plan to press this issue aggressively. we are already setting steps to get to the bottom of this. 1i really glad that president obama has been involved in calling a lot of folks. one in his request and a report on what they have learned about the disaster in its quest to happen this week. maybe that's too early. , they may not know everything but he wants to be kept abreast of what's happening. and i have asked others for a full briefing and one on the findings for west virginia's congressional delegation. i decided that was an seles, i decided that was the right thing to do. i want to narrow what the
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president knows it. and that is going to happen. i've requested that the conduct a top to bottom review of all mine safety violations all across the country. so that we can get a sense of perspective of where we live in this mind. and others. in relation to other states. and i've also requested hearings and oversight investigations from the senate committee on health education, labor and pensions. loire -- they were kind enough to allow mean to sit with them will during the market up of the minor act. so that i could contribute what little i now. in closing mr. president, to say that our coal miners have lost too many brothers and to ministers. , and has always been dangerous.
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it's a common story in west virginia that southern west virginia particularly which is where i first went where there is some of coal mining, that mothers don't want their sons to go into one but there they are on and they can get paid sister $70 an hour this job with treen. what are they to do? what is it a mine which does not have an account representation which allows people want to tell somebody in authority? that something isn't being done safely. well, we have mines where the
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operators use intimidation unwed and if somebody tries to do something like that they are out of a job. all kinds of ways to do that. and while we all know in their journey is a dangerous one, our coal miners must know that everything is being done to keep them safe. it's why i'm standing here simply to say that. we have a solemn urgent one and i think sacred obligation in the united states congress to find the truth, do it fairly and carefully, and take action in their honor. these men have given us all they can and we must honor their sacrifice. i think the presiding officer
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and yield the floor. >> we be prepared to commit that a republican president to and republican congress and february and march of 2013 every radical bill passed by this administration. ..

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